By Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh Foods, FMI
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Fresh foods at retail is such a big topic — a full meal, if you will — that sometimes it’s easier to understand this subject in bite-sized chunks. All the better if those chunks are available on demand.

That is the concept behind our latest approach to FMI's FreshForward Conversations video insights series. We’re planning short segments —15 to 20 minutes each — accessible through easy subscription sign-up for the series. New episodes will be available to view on demand the last week of each month. These are discussions, not slide presentations.

The segments planned for the next few months will feature industry leaders addressing topics highly relevant at this moment in time.

Fresh Meal Solutions

The July episode is now ready for viewing. It spotlights fresh meal solutions through my interview with Mike Kueny, Hy-Vee’s senior vice president, foodservice. This is a highly important topic at a time when competition from restaurants is heating up.

Hy-Vee has a great reputation for meals, from food-to-go to restaurants. In this video, Mike discusses topics including:

  • Foodservice offerings and work with delivery partners.
  • Meals from retail and restaurants.
  • Strategies for meal solutions and meal bundles.
  • Healthy meal efforts.
Fresh in Ecommerce

Another episode in our FreshForward Conversation Series, to be released in August, will illuminate what’s ahead for fresh foods in ecommerce. Fresh foods broke through a major barrier during the pandemic as consumers increasingly purchased these items via online shopping. With the pandemic waning and more customers returning to physical stores, retailers and their fresh suppliers have the opportunity to consider lessons from the pandemic to enhance ecommerce in fresh foods.

For this segment I’ll interview Katie Ceclan, vice president of own brands product management & marketing at Albertsons Companies. Katie will relay insights about retailer’s approaches, including its unique online floral program and new partnership arrangements with companies including DoorDash.

In-Store Fresh Experience

Our September segment will focus on the fresh in-store experience. This experience suffered during the pandemic, as shoppers reduced trips and shifted to online purchasing. Retailers now have the opportunity to reenergize their experiences to drive store differentiation.

For this episode, I’ll interview John Ruane, senior vice president and chief merchandising officer, The Giant Co. John is not only a highly experienced retail leader, he also chairs FMI’s Fresh Foods Leadership Council (FFLC). John will address some of his company’s recent innovative efforts to enhance in-store experience and will discuss overall industry progress.

Fresh Industry Survey

We’ll take a slightly different approach with the October video segment. This episode will present a unique take on overall fresh industry perspectives and strategies — spotlighting key findings from a new FMI/Deloitte survey of senior fresh industry leaders. I’ll be discussing the findings with Barb Renner, Deloitte’s vice chairman and U.S. consumer products leader.

FMI’s Fresh Community

The FMI video series is part of the association’s commitment to enhance the fresh foods community throughout the year. Other elements in that commitment include our annual FreshForward conference, research reports that cover a wide range of fresh categories, and the crucial activities of our FFLC.

If fresh foods is like a big meal, FMI is working to ensure the meal includes many great courses.

I hope you’ll subscribe to FMI’s FreshForward Conversations on-demand series, as I know you’ll benefit from all the insights.

Subscribe to FreshForward Conversation Series